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Full text of "My Country And My People"

80       MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE

of layers of clouds and hilltops" (accumulation), "the method of
throwing lighted firecrackers at a horse's buttocks'5 (final stab
toward conclusion) etc., etc. Such names suggest picturesque
terms like the "bow-wow," "pooh-pooh" and "sing-song
theories" of the origin of speech.

This profuseness of imagery and paucity of abstract termin-
ology has an influence on the style of writing and, consequently,
on the style of thought.  On the one hand, it makes for vivid-
ness; on the other, it may easily degenerate into a senseless
decorativeness without exact content, which has been the
besetting sin of many periods of Chinese literature, and against
which Han Yu in the "Fang Dynasty set up a revolt.   Such a
style suffers from lack of exactness of expression, but at its best
it brings about, as in the best "non-classical" novels, a saunter-
ing prose, racy, idiomatic and smelling of the soil, like the
prose of Swift and Defoe, "in the best English tradition," as
we say. It also avoids the pitfalls of a type of academic jargon
which is  rapidly growing in American university  circles,
especially among the psychologists and sociologists, who talk
of human life only hi terms of "factors," "processes," "in-
dividualization," "departmentalization," "quotas of ambition,"
"standardization of anger" and "coefficients of happiness."
Such a style is practically untranslatable into Chinese, although
some ludicrous efforts have been made in it under the slogan
of "Europeanization of Chinese," which is rapidly dying out
of vogue.   Translation from English into Chinese is hardest
in scientific treatises,  while translation from  Chinese into
English is hardest in poetry and decorative prose,  where
every word contains an image.

III. LACK OF SCIENCE

Sufficient discussion of the characteristics of Chinese thinking
has been made to enable us to appreciate the cause of their
failure to develop natural science. The Greeks laid the found-
ation of natural science because the Greek mind was essentially
an analytical mind, a fact which is proved by the striking
modernity of Aristotle. The Egyptians developed geometry and